PILATES PARABLES: Life lessons from teaching movem...

PILATES PARABLES: Life lessons from teaching movement.

“Why their body hurts (alll the time).”

When we meet for the first time, it’s remarkable how attached clients are to their experience of pain –
It’s personal,
It’s familiar,
And in a manipulative way, it has even become comforting;

Family and friends sympathize their pain,
Support it, enable it,
And too often it’s glamorized – the misguided, “no pain, no gain” mentality;

And when asked about their lifestyle habits –
Surprising is the lack of self-awareness,
Lack of intention, responsibility and curiosity for positive change,
But most concerning is their willingness to settle for a lowered quality of life.

Then our work begins. I introduce the equipment we’ll use. I declare my promises to them. And marking the beginning of a new fitness journey, Pilates quickly reveals the root of their body’s discomfort:

Weak Fundamentals…
Foundational pieces –
Foot articulation,
Pelvic stability,
Abdominal engagement,
Spinal and shoulder mobility.

Principles –
Most emphasized is breath,
We practice flow,
We concentrate,
We relax.

Mindful movement –
Safety should always take priority, no exceptions;
Other considerations include body and spatial
Movement efficiencies,
Awareness of cause-and-effect relationships.

Not the kind induced by a traumatic event, but rather the heavy burden of stress, fear and anxiety. When we lose control, when we no longer dictate daily agendas – how do we re-center our lifestyle? What pieces of mind/body/soul are trained to confront the magnitude of a global crisis?

Old Habits…
We grow up observing others –
Their choices, patterns and routines;

We innocently react to growth spurts –
Naturally taking the path of least resistance, the body responds the best it can – often at the expense of unhealthy compromises;

And when we tryout a new sport or activity, we simply mimic body motions –
We learn only what’s necessary to get the job done. Take P.E. class for example, (let’s be honest, it was crap) – if anything, we learned the best ways to ‘cheat’ movement to get that passing grade.

A calling for change – What will we take full responsibility for?
A time of adjustment – What’s no longer ‘good enough’?
A season of uncertainty – How much are we willing to mature?

Unhealthy Language…
Misperceptions of ‘pain’ can easily imprison mind, body and spirit;
They say,
“I was really sore, I must not have been doing it right.”

It’s not a benchmark of ‘right or wrong,’ nor does it measure a productive/unproductive workout. Soreness is communication of a muscle worked, challenged, called upon to perform at a new standard.

“I think I injured myself last time.”

A ‘strain’ is different from an injury. We wake-up dormant muscles, we exert them in unfamiliar ways, and we push their capacity to invite growth.

“I can’t, I can’t…it’s like a burning/stabbing sensation!”

And I respond,
“But you’re doing it; And your body isn’t cheating anywhere; And all of your foundational pieces are still in alignment…”
When the body (truly) reaches a pain threshold it’ll call for ‘help’ from other muscle groups. The physical body is far more resilient than we give it credit for – but it’s the mind’s fear response that quickly limits our potential.

For as long as the world commands caution –
What if we used our pain to teach others strength?
What if we used our pain to counsel others emotionally?
What if we used our pain to manage the sudden irrationalities of those we love?

To sustain our health in a season of pandemic and quarantine, we must cue POWER OF CHOICE to help lead us!

And before surrendering (prematurely) to undesirable emotions of pressure and stress, we must consider opportunities for growth!

See, the pain and constraint of lockdown is only relative to a lifestyle we’ve become so used to, but we’re more capable than we think!

Yes, the pain is strong, but it’s only temporary. When we choose sound fundamentals, positive habits and smarter self-dialogue – our pains find relief.

We’ll look back a week, month, some seasons later – and surprised by the output of our daily efforts, we will celebrate a reality unbridled.


Kevin Romo Leon Image


Tucson, AZ born. University of Arizona educated. Balanced Body trained. Regardless of his audience, every new client is made two promises: “I will keep your body safe. And two, I will push your body’s comfort zone.” Practicing movement since 2009, Kevin’s messages are inspired by personal observation and reflection - he calls them the lessons between sessions. Kevin teaches at Sirron Pilates Studio in Chicago, IL and can be reached at



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